I don’t know when I first read Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck’s classic book about traveling the backroads of the United States. It was probably High School (thanks Leslie Meskin) but it made a huge impact on me. Some of that was Steinbeck’s prose. It is warm, self-deprecating, charming and funny But it was also teen age angst. I wanted to get out there see the world for myself and the idea of doing in a camper with a canine companion seemed just about perfect.
This summer, after being confined to our home for nearly six months, I was trolling my bookshelves looking for something to read and came across a dog eared (no pun intended) copy of Travels with Charley that had been hiding behind other paperbacks. It was as if I was running into an old friend whom I had not seen in a while. I needed to get reacquainted. Book in hand, I retired to my reading chair and did not get up until I had finished the book four hours later.
It was a thoroughly satisfying experience but what was surprising to me was how much I had not remembered about the book. (It was actually kind of terrifying. What else have I forgotten?) One of the things that had slipped my mind was the reason for the trip. He set out on his journey because he felt that he lost touch with our country. After being the voice of the common joe throughout his career he had spent much the last fifteen years of his life in New York and in the Hamptons. He felt he no longer had a connection to the country that had been his muse.
That resonated with me.
For most of my life I have been a traveling man. I have extremely blessed that business and pleasure have taken me to 48 out of 50 states, 35 countries, and every continent except Antarctica. I have loved almost every moment of those journeys. And it is what I have missed most during our Covid life. Going to the old familiar places where I do not need a map with my rental car and seeing friends who I have managed to collect along the way. Visiting new destinations and making new friends and getting a sense of our country and our world by being a part of it.
It sparked a fantasy.
When Elaine and I were both clear of the virus, we, along with Rosie, would rent an RV and hit the road for a while. Visit friends in far away places. See the sites we have missed along the way such as the statue of Paul Bunyan and his blue Ox babe or Yellowstone park. And perhaps along the way I would keep a blog and let my friends see what was out there now that the blast doors to our Covid shelters were creeping open.
Last Tuesday, I hit the two-week mark after my second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Elaine cleared the hurdle on the previous Sunday. To celebrate our full immunity. We have decided to hit the road for a while. Probably a week. Maybe a little less. Maybe a little more. We will go where the car takes us, when it wants to take us there. Hopefully, along the way we will meet some people, have a little of fun and get an idea of what America looks like as it emerges from its Covid bubble.
For those of you who are concerned about our well being we appreciate your concern, but we will be following all safety protocols. We are well supplied with masks, wipes, alcohol gel and even an air filtration system to be used in hotels. We will not eat at indoor restaurants but will find alternative ways of sampling the local cuisine.
As always Rosie will be our ambassador to meeting people as she far more charming than me and gives Elaine a run for the money. And as on homage to John Steinbeck we have decided to call this jaunt “Rambles with Rosie.”
We hope you will enjoy our updates.